According to local reports, officerSean McCutcheon discharged his gun in a school hallwayTuesday while on duty at Highland High School. Though the circumstances surrounding the incident are currently under investigation, Highland Central School District Superintendent Deborah Haab said it was an accident.
"No students or staff were in the area when the weapon discharged, and no one was injured as a result of this accidental discharge," Haabtold reporters and parents during a meetingTuesday evening (see video above). "Moving forward, I'm sure the board will be having a discussion about overall school security."
Though Town of Lloyd Police Chief Daniel Waage refused to discuss specifics, the Times Herald-Record reports that Waage confirmedMcCutcheon has undergone drug and alcohol testsas part of the investigation. McCutcheon was not expected to return to work Wednesday, and the school district's resource officer program has been suspended pending the results of the inquiry.
The incident highlights a larger question, part of the national debate among legislators, teachers and parents: Should guns be allowed in schools as a protective measure, and if so, who should carry them?
In the aftermath of the Dec. 14mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., school safety has become a key issue, prompting President Barack Obama to recommend individual schools make the choice of whether or not toenlist armed resource officers. Under a federally funded program, these "specially trained police officers" would be present in schools to "help prevent school crime and student-on-student violence."